I got my hands on 30 finished solid core doors including hinges and
Schlage locks. They are mortised and drilled. No Jams! I could buy
pine and make the jams, but I really don't like pine. Birch would go
with the remainder of the woodwork in the house, but at $3 - $4 a
board foot for rough cut in varying widths, and all the work in
preparation, it will cost a fortune and take forever.
Would birch ply be strong enough, and hard enough, to withstand the
wear and tear of daily living? The surface that shows would be
hardwood. Very little of the edges show and could easily be finished
with 1/4 inch strips of real birch.
considering that most doors these days have particleboard jambs,
plywood is certainly strong enough. you'll need to shim behind the
hinges, and remove one of the hinge screws on the top hinge and replace
it with a long screw into the framing.
Birch ply would probably be strong enough.
You might check with your local lumber yard or BORG to see if they
might have veneered jambs available. You should be able to find a
maple veneered jamb that would be quite a bit less money than solid
stock but probably still a little higher than plywood.
I really on see wood. Mostly some kind of Chilean cousin of pine that
is hard as a rock. I am doing a lot of installs and finishing of
interior and exterior doors of a local lumberyard and I have steered
them away from particle board and anything else.
By the time they figured out the price between the mystery South
American hardwood and the particle board it wasn't that great, and if
the mystery wood is to painted (like you would MDF) they use the cheap
finger jointed stuff anyway.
The custom doors they make or sell have hardwood jambs to match the
doors, but that has gotten so expensive due to the cost of solid jamb
material that most people opt out and just get paint grade frames.
I hate the MDF frames as it almost double the amount of shims I have to
put in. That stuff is so limber and moves so much (even with one coat
of primer and two coats finish) that you really have to secure it. It
is hard to get and keep the margins really straight.
So I charge enough extra on the installation of MDF frames to make it
worthwhile for their customers to pick the wood frames. Kinda helps
things go in the right direction.
I guess that could be WSYP, Way Southern Yellow Pine, ;~)
I am doing a lot of installs and finishing of
I was totally unaware that non solid wood door jams were available. In
Houston I have only seen solid wood jams, I certainly would not want a door
hanging on less especially with a solid core door. I can understand MDF
doors as you can use a longer screw to secure the hinge to the door however
the jam side of the hinge cannot use a long screw unless as you well know
you replace all the screws after installation.
Thanks for the info.
Here's the rub. When the door has been hung and the shims are in, the
shims are roughly 24 inches apart on a three hinge door with shims
under each hinge. However, with MDF jambs, they will easily move and
torque even with shims 24" apart, and the trims properly nailed.
With longer screws that go into the door buck stud you can torque the
jamb if there is the slightest imperfection in your shim fit.
I hang my doors the old fashioned way, using long wedges from each side
at the hinges. Scribe and cut the wedges to fit after the door is in
its proper place, and more nails in the jamb, and a couple of 16 ga 2
1/2 " brads in each shim.
However, I discovered that when I countersink a large finish nail that
doesn't go exactly through the center of the wedge, I can literally
bend the MDF jamb around smaller shims (3" or so) when I am setting the
nails. Now THAT makes a nasty installation.
Those MDF jambs suck for too many
On 9 Aug 2006 22:58:09 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Don't mean to sound dense, but is there a "new" way to do it that
doesn't involve the method you describe? As far as I know, that's the
only way to do it, except I usually use trim screws instead of finish
Agreed. I usually shim every 12" when a customer insists on a prehung
to get around that (as noted in another post, all of them are
particleboard -not even MDF- around here) Still isn't as good as a
real jamb, but I figure shims are cheap, and it's better than nothing.
I don't know of a new way that is better, but when visiting one of my
fellow contractors that do a lot of bulk installation I went over and
looked at how the install the doors they put in for a builder here in
town. He was a little embarassed, but he told me they had been doing
it this way for so long he didn't really think of it anymore. Here's
how it goes:
- put the trim (his came trimmed one side) on one side of the door
- put the door in the hole, line up the margins correctly, and shoot
the trim to the cripple
on the side that you have it on
- cram "stuff" in under the hinges (cardboard, plywood, sheeetrock,
masonite siding, etc.) and shoot a couple of long brads through the
"stuff" called by them as shims
- Bonus: if it is an outside door, it is required that they put a shim
under the door lock area
- put the trim on the other side
It helps me understand why my door rehav business is so good.
I would not consider anything but solid wood, especially for heavy doors.
IMHO until you get into the plywood's that cost about the same as solid
wood, plywood looks like plywood regardless of whether you hide the edges or
I would never consider plywood for a door jam. If the surface needs to be a
hardwood finish, then get the birch, maple, beech or even alder or pine if
money is that tight. Go cheap now and regret it later.
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